Every fifth person in India suffers from a chronic disease and more than 6 out of 10 people die from non-communicable diseases (NCD), a new study by the Partnership to Fight Chronic Disease released on Tuesday said.

The advocacy paper — NCDs in the Development Agenda — which was done with technical support from the National Health Systems Resource Centre (NHSRC) notes that NCDs account for 53 per cent of the disease burden. Worryingly, the incidences of heart diseases and cancer — two of the leading causes of mortality in the country — are on a sharp uptick. Between 1990 and 2010 premature deaths from cardiovascular diseases increased by 59 per cent to 37 million from 23.2 million, the study noted.

Meanwhile, cancer cases are also likely to amplify by 25 per cent by 2020 from 1.4 million now to 1.7 million by 2020.

The genetic vulnerabilities of Indians, in addition to other factors such as increasing pollution, dietary changes, change in lifestyle, increase in instances of other co-morbid conditions such as diabetes, and stress appear to be playing a role in the rising cases of heart diseases.

The vulnerability of younger population is also increasingly significantly with almost a quarter of the population in 25-26 age group facing such diseases,

The massive economic burden of NCDs — estimated by the World Health Organisation to the tune of $6.2 trillion between 2012 and 2030 — the paper stresses on the need for a multi-pronged approach.

The advocacy paper stresses, “India should increase the percentage expenditure of GDP on healthcare from the current 1.1 per cent to at least 2.5-3 percent by 2025, with an increased focus on preventing and treating NCDs.”

Besides seeking an increased focus on NCDs at medical colleges, the paper also suggest public-private partnership for efficient use of resources in training, education, diagnostics, and preventive care.

It also recommends establishing NCD clinics at the primary healthcare level.